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Emergency Town Hall Held To Address Lead Poisoning Concerns In Homewood

HOMEWOOD (KDKA) - Lead levels in the water in Flint, Michigan were one of the top stories in 2016.

It gave many in Pittsburgh reason to be concerned. Last night, the issue of lead poisoning was a hot topic in Homewood.

"This is essentially a game of Russian roulette that is being played on every household in Pittsburgh right now," Allegheny County Controller Chelsea Wagner said.

Wagner was just one of many speakers at the meeting hosted by the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood.

"How can we create a strategy going into 2018 to make every home lead free?" asked Rashad Byrdsong, of the Community Empowerment Association.

The emergency town hall meeting addressed issues dealing with lead in the soil, paint and drinking water and what should be done about it.

"In the Homewood community particularly, we know you have lead, and we want you to test your water. We want you to be aware of this to protect the children of the community," Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Karen Hacker said.

"Our lab tests the water that is coming in and goes out through our plant for lead. There is no lead in our water," PWSA's Joey Vallarian said.

While much attention has been focused on Pittsburgh's water woes, more of the issues have to do with lead in the soil or lead paint on the walls of Pittsburgh's aging properties.

"Eighty percent of our homes were built before lead was removed from paint. And about 60 percent of our homes were built before the 1950s, when there was the highest amount of lead in paint at that time," Dr. Hacker said.

The doctor's best advice is to have your children tested for lead between the ages of 9 months and 12 months and then again when they turn 2.

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